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6 ways to cool down your computer when it overheats

Chrissy Montelli   

6 ways to cool down your computer when it overheats
Tech2 min read
  • You can cool down an overheating computer in many different ways.
  • Your computer may be overheating due to overuse, clogged vents, or other obstructions.

If you find that your computer tends to run hot these days, don't worry. There are several ways you can cool down your computer so that it doesn't burn your lap or damage itself.

How to cool down your computer

Don't block your computer's vents

There are fans located inside your computer to help it cool itself down, and when those fans' vents are blocked, the air cannot travel properly, making your computer overheat. Make sure your computer's vents have plenty of unobstructed space around them. This can include the surface on which your computer rests. For example, if you usually use your laptop in bed and rest it on a blanket, the blanket will inhibit the computer's ventilation. For best results, use your computer on a hard, flat surface to let it "breathe."

Use a laptop cooling pad

You can buy a cooling pad that essentially works as an external fan for your laptop. These tend to be relatively inexpensive and connect directly to your laptop, often through the USB port. Keep in mind, though, that laptop cooling pads can cool the outside of your computer, but don't have as much of an effect on the computer's internal heat sources.

Avoid using programs that push your computer's CPU limits

Just like a runner might lose steam after sprinting for several miles, if your computer is frequently running programs that use a lot of CPU, its internal components will be forced to work in overdrive and it will begin to overheat.

Clean your computer's fans and vents

If there is a lot of dust or other debris in your computer's vents, it can block airflow and contribute to overheating. It's relatively easy to clean dust and debris from your computer's vents and fans if you have the right tools. Many people use cotton swabs to wipe dust out of small crevices in their computers. Alternatively, many stores sell cans of compressed air that can be used to blow out dust.

Change your computer's settings to improve its performance

Depending on what kind of computer you have, you may be able to change your computer's settings so that it doesn't overheat as quickly. Do some research on your specific computer model and its best settings for heightened performance. Adjusting these settings can reduce pressure on your computer's internal components and cut down on overheating.

Shut down the computer

The easiest and most reliable way to cool down your computer is to shut it off completely and let it rest for a few hours. We all need to sleep in order to do our best every day. Computers aren't so different from us in that regard.

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